Ocean Liners

Ocean Liners: Getting there is half the fun!

Images of four ocean liners from the RIBA Collections

Prior to the arrival of the “jet age” and, in particular, the commercial success of the Boeing 707 “airliner” ocean liners were the dominant mode of transport between continents not only carrying passengers but freight and mail. Today only Cunard’s Queen Mary 2 (QM2) continues that line’s advertising slogan of “Getting there is half the fun!” Indeed the QM2 is now the sole ship in service as an ocean liner albeit not exclusively as she is also used as a cruise ship.

Ocean liners and cruise ships are actually different types of vessels. Ocean liners have regular ocean going routes and being built for the open oceans tend to be stronger, faster and sleeker. In comparison cruise ships tend to be much boxier being largely designed to cruise around the calmer sailing conditions of sheltered waters.

Only a handful of ocean liners now survive, including the SS Great Britain (1843), RMS Queen Mary (1934), SS United States (1951), SS Queen Elizabeth 2 or QE2 (1967) as well as a couple, MV Astoria (built as the Stockholm, 1946) and MS Marco Polo (1964), now plying their trade as cruise liners.

Illustrated here are a number of photographs and drawings of ocean liners from the RIBA Collections including several with interior designs by renowned architects including those for the RMS Queen Elizabeth by the designer of the RIBA headquarters, George Grey Wornum.

Feature by Jonathan Makepeace.

SS Normandie
Ocean Liners

SS Normandie

Click on the image above to go to the Normandie gallery.

RMS Orion & RMS Orcades II
Ocean Liners

Orion & Orcades II

Click on the image above to got to go to the Orion & Orcades gallery.

SS Oriana
Ocean Liners

SS Oriana

Click on the image above to go to the Oriana gallery.

108594 items
RIBA119933Paddington Station, London: detail of the ribs supporting the transept roof

 
RIBA119934Paddington Station, London: detail of part of the 1913-1915 roof with its lattice steel beam

 
RIBA119935Paddington Station, London: the Great Western Hotel


RIBA119936Paddington Station, London: the entrance to the office building

 
RIBA119937Paddington Station, London: the concourse with the offices

 
RIBA119938Paddington Station, London: detail of office bays with pilasters


RIBA119939Paddington Station, London: detail of the offices

 
RIBA119940Paddington Station, London: the train shed

 
RIBA119941Paddington Station, London: part of the 1913-1915 roof with its lattice steel beam


RIBA119942Paddington Station, London: the train shed with four Inter-City125 trains lined up

 
RIBA119943Paddington Station, London: the train shed showing the cast iron supporting column

 
RIBA119944Paddington Station, London: the train shed looking north across one or two transepts


RIBA119945Paddington Station, London: detail of the ironwork panels between the rib supports on the office block

 
RIBA119946Paddington Station, London: detail of the wrought iron roof truss across one of the side aisles

 
RIBA119947Paddington Station, London: detail of cast iron column


RIBA119948Paddington Station, London: looking towards the bays of the office building

 
RIBA119949Paddington Station, London: the train shed

 
RIBA119950Paddington Station, London: the train shed


RIBA119951Paddington Station, London: the train shed

 
RIBA119952Paddington Station, London: detail of the station clock and original entrance loggia from Eastbourne Terrace

 
RIBA119953Paddington Station, London: the train shed


RIBA120917Roche Factory, Welwyn Garden City, Hertfordshire

 
RIBA120956City Hall, Norwich: the council chamber

 
RIBA120993Savoy Theatre, Strand, London: the retiring room of the Royal Box


RIBA120995Pritchard Wood & Partners stand, Advertising Exhibition 1933, Olympia, London

 
RIBA121331Hendon Hall Court, Great North Way, Hendon, London: detail of balconies

 
RIBA121545Eros House, Catford, London: detail of the top of the staircase tower seen from below showing the board-marking


RIBA121692Dawson's Heights, Overhill Road, Dulwich, London: distant view seen from a mile and a half north (Dog Kennel Hill), augmenting the southern rim of hills

 
RIBA121693Dawson's Heights, Overhill Road, Dulwich, London: the dramatic roofline, seen from Dulwich Park

 
RIBA121694Dawson's Heights, Overhill Road, Dulwich, London, seen from Forest Hill


RIBA121695Dawson's Heights, Overhill Road, Dulwich, London, seen from nearby cricket ground

 
RIBA121696Dawson's Heights, Overhill Road, Dulwich, London, seen from the west

 
RIBA121697Dawson's Heights, Overhill Road, Dulwich, London: looking under the eastern access bridge into the central space